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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Chocolate-covered Cherry Fondants

In the washing machine, on top of the stuffed deer head, behind the mint green ball gown. What do all of these places have in common? They sound like a pretty random series of locations, but they have one very important thing in common. The Easter Bunny thought they would make pretty good places to hide my basket of chocolate.

These are the hiding places that I remember best, because it took forever to find my Easter basket those particular years. The Easter bunny is crazy sneaky, even hiding my brothers basket in his room while he slept. It took him hours to find it, even though his whole room smelled of chocolate.

Sneaky sneaky Easter Bunny, always hiding my candy. Well, except the year you hid it in the fridge. That was silly. A girl wakes up in the morning and what’s the first thing she’s going to do? Get a bowl of Lucky Charms! Ta-da! Basket full of candy in the fridge! Who needs cereal, I’ve got candy now! That was a very hyper Easter Sunday.

Now that I no longer live in my parents’ house, the Easter bunny has resorted to using the U.S. postal service. It’s a surprise in a big brown box! It’s just waiting in my mailbox, full of deliciousness and wanting to be opened and eaten. I know there is a Easter box on its way to me soon, but until then I will have to make my own candy.

I know, two candy posts in a row, but it’s Easter time! To me, that means pastel candies and daffodils. These cherry fondants are smooth and creamy. The chocolate coating gives them a great crunch and makes them look extra pretty!

Did the Easter bunny use to stop by your house and hide your basket?  Where was the craziest place the bunny hid your treats?  I love a good, basket in the oven story!

Chocolate-covered Cherry Fondants
1 ½ cups sugar
½ cup + 2 tbsp water
2 tbsp corn syrup
½ tsp cherry extract
12 ounces milk chocolate

1. Butter a 9x9-inch pan and set aside

2. In a medium pot, stir together sugar, water and corn syrup. Heat to medium and stir with a whisk until sugar is dissolved.

3. Clip on candy thermometer and heat, without stirring, to 240 F (soft ball)

4. Pour hot sugar syrup into the prepared 9x9-inch pan and let sit on the counter until it is lukewarm.

5. Add cherry extract and stir with a big spoon. Try to incorporate as much extract as possible, you may need to fold the sugar over itself.

6. Transfer sugar blob to a zip-top plastic bag and let it sit for a minute. Press down on the blob with the heel of your hand, pressing into the countertop. You may need to squish it all to the center of the bag a few times.

7. After about ten minutes the sugar will turn opaque and become stiff, like cookie dough. First the sugar will probably break apart and look all grainy. Continue kneading for another minute until the sugar comes together and is creamy.

8. Either roll the sugar into 1-inch balls or press into small candy molds. Place candies in the freezer for ten minutes to harden.

9. Melt half of the chocolate in the top of a double boiler. Remove chocolate from the heat and add remaining chocolate. You are looking for a temperature around 89 F. If it gets too cool simply place the bowl back over the simmering water.

10. Dip fondants in the chocolate (I used candy tools to minimize finger smudges) and set on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Place chocolate-coated candies in the fridge to harden the chocolate. Yum!
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